5:00pm Friday 16th May 2014
By Ian Whiting
P 44 W 10 D 6 L 28 F 58 A 115 GD -57 Pts 36
The Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division season began dismally for Sedge and got steadily worse as they struggled through a period of transition on a shoestring budget.
The Spen-based club’s decline has been marked but finishing fourth from bottom saw them hold onto their top-tier status.
That was the one real plus of their season and a cause for real hope going into the close season with greater expectations for the coming campaign.
Sedge picked up just one point from their first four games and suffered a 6-0 mauling at Morpeth Town in the FA Cup extra-preliminary round.
They finally got their first maximum with a 4-3 home victory but that was against Lincoln Moorlands Railway, who were the whipping boys and finished rock bottom with just eight points and a goal difference of minus 187.
There was a brief bright spot as Sedge enjoyed victory in the north east in the first hurdle of the FA Vase, and followed that by putting Colne out in the next round, and soon after took Silsden’s scalp when the clubs met in the West Riding County FA Cup.
However, the celebrations were far too fleeting, and Sedge were dumped out of both competitions following home defeats.
An early exit from the League Cup left the Clayborners with just league survival to play for from November onwards.
It was a toil as the young, inexperienced squad could not find any consistency.
The best spell of the season was a mini run that saw them win three games on the trot, beating Pickering Town away and Parkgate at home either side of the cup win over Silsden.
From then on, which was early October, they tasted victory just five times in 34 fixtures in all competitions. They ended the campaign with six straight defeats and under different management.
Eric Gilchrist had returned for a second spell at Clayborn, hoping to recreate what he achieved with the club first time around.
The second coming ended with a bitter and acrimonious parting of the ways towards the end of October.
Feeling the club either could not or would not back his high expectations, Gilchrist handed in his resignation but still took the team for one last game because it was short notice and they had a midweek game at Bridlington Town.
Sedge chairman Steve Newton, who himself is former manager at Clayborn, stepped in on a caretaker basis, and soon installed senior player and club captain James Riorden as player-manager.
Reserve-team management duo Paul Murphy and Dave Thompson were promoted to assist Riorden and all three put their hearts and souls into the task ahead of them.
Riorden could remain the chosen one as Newton looks to the next campaign.
But one thing is certain, it will be a busy close season at Clayborn because the club are determined to come out fighting.
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